So it turns out that the internet is good for more than just porn and video games – you can make money off it too! Think of the internet as a giant country called Imaginationland. By playing your cards right, you can make some easy money online doing things you’re already doing. Here are some lifehacks to start you off:
1. Website Building
If the internet is a country, then websites are like real estates. I’m hoping by now you have a general understanding that real estates are valuable in the physical world – digital real estates work the same way. By building a website, you’re creating your own plot of online “land.”
You can fill this land with whatever you want, but you have to promote it through social media (and anywhere else you can think of) for this to be successful. When you build traffic to your land, you can sell people whatever you have to offer. In order to build a website, you need a host (i.eGoDaddy), a template (i.e WordPress), and content.
The first two parts are easy to find, and content is only as difficult as you make it. You can post blogs, items for sale, pictures, videos, or whatever you want. Opening up your own website gives you the potential to make money from the avenues I’m going to mention.
2. B2B Marketing
An online business model I love is utilized by GetVoiP, an affiliate marketer based in New York. GetVoiP acts as an agent for business communication providers. They maintain updated listings of VoiP providers, including ratings, comparisons, consumer reviews, in-depth knowledge of market and end-user trends, and expert opinions from business professionals on a variety of topics related to business consumers. By not only keeping abreast of news, but providing detailed analysis of products being offered, GetVoiP is able to generate traffic to their site and increase their clout with businesses.
The more online clout you have as a business, the more money you’ll make. If you’re known for making lasting connections (as is the case with GetVoiP above), then you’ll have no issues building your online brand. You’ll be recognized in your community and begin to build a buzz in your industry. Tracking your numbers (how many people view your site, click each ad, and make a purchase from that click) gives you the leverage to expand this part of your business, enabling you to continue building your online rep.
If that sounds like too much technical information for you, there is an easy button – Google’s advertising platform is as simple as signing up, enabling (on Blogger) or pasting a small code on your website, and allowing the advertisements to automatically roll in. The problem with this program is that you don’t get any commissions – and you don’t get to control the ad content. This is useful for some, but powerful users will want something a little more robust.
Amazon has an Associates program for site owners and bloggers. They offer a search tool to find the right products and services from their site and a variety of ad styles to display on your site, including text-based and banner images (digital billboards) like this:
Each item purchased through your Amazon links give you a commission. It doesn’t take high volume traffic to achieve results, either. I began making money with the program when I only had 1,000 hits per month on my site. They can apply your earnings to your Amazon account balance, issue you a check, or direct deposit into your bank account. If you love Amazon, you’ll love their associate’s program.
Amazon and Google are far from your only options for online advertising. Rakuten Linkshare is a great place to search for other affiliates for your ads. Through their program, you can get customized ad links, email links, and banner ads for Starbucks, Walmart, iTunes, and a slew of other popular brands. With this program, you can also find smaller companies, regional or specialized brands, and more. I run a combination of Google, Amazon, and Rakuten’s programs, and my monthly income is approximately $150 from these programs. It’s not a lot of money, but it’s also not a lot of work for residual (it means recurring…since the ads are permanent…) income.
6. Company Referral Programs
Speaking of the benefits of permanent ads, banners and links aren’t the only ways to earn a little bit of dough off your online endeavors. By having a website, you gain the power of emailing companies to ask them for things. I have no shame in letting the yoga company whose mat I’m looking into purchasing know that I have a blog and write for yoga publications – it sometimes gets me discounts.
Other times, I gain a valuable business contact in PR, advertising, or other aspects of corporate sales. Sometimes I just get a free drink. Either way, money in and of itself is worthless. Ditch the middle man and use the internet to barter what you have and can do for what you need.
If you have a social media account, try out Klout. The company tracks your social media usage, determines how big and what type of audience you draw based on the subject matter of your updates and posts. Using this information, you’re qualified to receive free items, tickets, etc. Check their website often to find ways of earning free stuff by doing what you’re already doing online…boring the rest of us…
If you have anything you want to sell, then EBay is the place you need to seriously consider doing it first. Personally I’m not a fan of the site because of the work it takes to build up a reputation. If you’re willing to grind through that process, you’ll be rewarded with many privileges – people have gotten rich selling books about how they got rich selling everything on EBay.
If you start getting too big for EBay or decide you want to try a different flavor, Amazon has a marketplace as well. I prefer using Amazon because I can depend on their shipping, have a Prime account, and trust their reviews (overall, not usually singularly, although occasionally that as well).
The difference between Amazon and EBay is that EBay (though still filled with new items) is seen as a used marketplace between individual parties, whereas Amazon (which is filled with offers for new and used merchandise from the 3rd parties) is viewed as a Wal-Mart-type superstore. As a consumer, this difference leads me to use Amazon, so it only makes sense to target on my own demographic.
If you’re crafty (and I mean that in more than one way, wink wink), you’ll enjoy Etsy. Handcrafted items are the bread and butter here. Plenty of people make decent side money on the site, which is basically an EBay for crafters and artists. Set up a sellers account with Etsy, and you’ll be asked to set up your virtual storefront and put up at least 5 goods for sale.
Once you have this down, you’ll be a budding Etsy entrepreneur. Provide great quality to your customers, and they’ll often return. Many people are willing to pay a premium for quality handmade designs. Etsy (like EBay and Amazon) takes a cut off the top for selling items through their site. PayPal takes another cut, and you have to be careful with taxes on all income, so be diligent while building your online business.
Craigslist is the modern equivalent of the classified ads that dominated the days of newspapers. These quick ads are easy to navigate and use, and they’re geographically linked. Whether you’re selling something or offering a service, this lifehack is a great place to start learning the intricacies of Craigslist.
Posting ads on Craigslist is technically easy, but people often have fears about posting their personal information on the site. I communicate mostly through email when doing business on Craigslist, and I’ve never run into any issues. I’ve never been ripped off, nor have I been murdered or raped for using the site. It takes common sense, so use your best judgment, but don’t assume someone is a thief just because of their preferred communication method. For an extra bonus, google “funny Craigslist ads” to see some delightful examples of guerilla and grassroots marketing.
Maybe what you need is a job. It doesn’t matter which job search site you prefer using (even Craigslist) – Indeed tracks them all, and then some. You can find jobs posted on company websites, through temp agencies, and more at Indeed. If money is something you really need, Indeed is most definitely the place you want to visit to browse career opportunities.
Where Indeed excels at finding job postings across the web and acting as a search crawler for employment, maybe a full-fledged career is too big of a commitment at this point in your life. Elance is a site to find freelance work of all types. I’ve used it for quick writing, editing, copywriting, resume building, and other odd jobs and temp gigs. The experience has been great.
Elance offers a wide array of technical, data entry, accounting, and other freelance and temp gigs. If you’re just looking for something short and sweet, log in, input and showcase your marketable skills, and begin searching through their job database, using any parameters you desire. Once you submit a bid, you’ll receive an acceptance or denial – you may get a few rejections, but don’t sweat it. Negotiate the terms of your bid, and get to work. You have money to make.
If you’ve heard of crowdsourcing (and even if you haven’t), Amazon’s Mechanical Turk program is a great place to get involved. Much like at Elance, you input your info and skills. You then are able to search for different menial tasks ranging from identifying inappropriate web content to transcribing audio recordings to basic data entry work.
Just like at any other job, the more work you do, and the better your quality, the more opportunities you’ll have to make money. The payouts are often small, and your payment is received in Amazon credit, but Mturk is a great place to make mindless money while veg’ing on the couch watching TV.
LinkedIn is a social media site for professionals. This isn’t a direct way to make money, but it’s a great way to connect to your current and potential peers, customers, clients, vendors, and more here. You’ll build a reputation and get in the loop on important developments in your chosen career path and/or industry. One day an old college buddy may hit you up for a dream job you never considered at the exact moment you are looking for a new vocation. Whether you like it or not, keeping your LinkedIn profile current is a great way to get surprised with new work opportunities out the blue.
If you’re an experienced nanny or babysitter,is the place you want to make money. By listing yourself on the Craigslist of Childcare, you’ll broaden your reach and increase your odds of finding the right gig at the right time. You can be pickier with what kids you watch when you have the reputation and traffic to pull in more customers. Join and start making money by investing in the future of our youth.
I support bootlegging – I don’t see it as being immoral or unethical in any way. I used to bootleg quite a bit in my youth, and I still do on occasion today (although not yet today in particular, I more meant “in the present”). If you want to hustle for your money, do what you must, baby. Download some software, music, movies, or other assorted digital goodness here and start slangin. It’s not an easy life, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
If you’re a musician, writer, artist, tech nerd, pundit, or can produce any type of audio, video, or text worth consuming, you may be able to sell some stuff in Apple’s flagship iTunes store. By selling your work here, you’re able to stand next to the marketing clout of big business. You can make a healthy living off the iTunes store, and there’s no better time than now.
If you have a business, you want to get listed on Yelp! You may not use the software, but some people do, and they use it religiously (and I don’t mean they’ll kill you over it). By listing your business on Yelp!, you’re putting yourself on the map. From here, you also need to start using Yelp! Write reviews of places you go. It’ll be worth it in the long run.
Soon, you’ll have a dozen or so reviews under your belt and can hire yourself out as a Yelp! reviewer. There are ethical and moral questions to doing this, but the title of this piece is “ways to make money,” not “ethical ways to make money,” and I am a former Bank of America/Countrywide employee, so what’d you expect?
Another seemingly free site you can make money from is Wikipedia. People who say it’s easy to edit Wikipedia have clearly never tried editing Wikipedia – it’s a pain. Thankfully it’s a pain for companies as well, so many of them are willing to pay editors to assist them in the editing process. You’ll become a bounty hunter in a way, choosing your own lines to cross and keep. If editing is something you like to do, and you’re willing to put in the work it takes to learn Wikipedia’s dispute process, roll up your sleeves and try this one out.
I make the bulk of my money from blogging. In addition to the advertising revenue streams mentioned above, I also receive flat rate payments for blogging from various blogs throughout the web. I’m paid to write as a whistleblower, financial analyst, reviewer, commentator, and more. Writing for other sites builds traffic to my personal blog. The traffic for this blog gives me clout to present to advertisers.
To create your own blog, you don’t even need a web domain. You can start a completely free blog on either WordPress or Blogger. Each of these sites has its ups and downs, but you can’t beat the price. You generally want to keep blog posts between 150-500 words until you have a few dozen under your belt. Links between your blog posts encourage people to stay on your blog once they find it, increasing traffic. Once your blog is up, promote it on social media for the greatest effect.
If you have a passion project, Kickstarter may be exactly what you need to get it off the ground. Celebs like Zach Braff and Melissa Joan Hart have used this site in attempts to fund their movie projects. Some crack dealers in Canada inspired a “crackstarter” campaign from Gawker for pictures of the Toronto mayor smoking crack with them. All you need is a dream, a goal, a budget, and a great pitch to convince people to come to the site and donate to your Kickstarter campaign. Panhandling isn’t dead – it’s gone digital…
23. Extreme Couponing
Once you’re versed on the idea, what you have to do is a bit difficult at first, but it’s a great way to both save and make money: go to hip2save.com and get a feel for the types of deals that are out there (both online and in the physical world). Once you’re comfortable with the process, start searching for the best deals in grocery, retail, and online shopping. After a month or two of extreme couponing, you’ll have enough cleaning, hygiene, and food supplies stocked up to save a noticeable amount of money. Now maybe you don’t need to make as much…?
24. Social Media
No matter what you do to make money online, promote it on your social media accounts. You have a base of people who are already interested in you and have a vested interest in your brand – why would you not want to take advantage of that? By promoting yourself and your projects on your social media accounts, you’re greatly increasing the chances of people actually giving you money in exchange for your goods and services. Stop being shy and get out there.